Indiana News

Buffett: Economic Recovery Slower Than Expected, But Progressing

"Oracle of Omaha" in Carmel for Geico ribbon-cutting

7/22/2013


L to R: Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, Geico CEO Tony Nicely, Gov. Mike Pence, and the Geico gecko. (WIBC.com photo: Eric Berman)

Billionaire Warren Buffett says he's been surprised at the slow pace of the economic recovery, but says things are on the right track.

Listen:

The Berkshire Hathaway CEO was in Carmel to cut the ribbon on Geico's new customer-service center there. The insurance company and Berkshire subsidiary opened in April and has hired 250 workers so far, with plans to add another 150 by year's end and an additional 800 over the next three years.

Buffett says it's understandable that unemployment has remained stubbornly high even as the stock market has resumed setting records. He says businesses won't hire until they see consumer demand picking up. And while Geico has been steadily growing and hiring over the last five years, he says other Berkshire companies, especially construction-related businesses, have been slower to add workers after seeing an 80% drop in housing starts when the housing bubble burst.

With home construction picking up, Buffett says he expects employment to follow suit. He credits President Obama, former President George W. Bush, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke with acting quickly and appropriately to revive an economy he says was "near paralysis" in 2008 and 2009. But he says the government at this point has taken the steps it can to stimulate the economy.

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